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(several different covers can be found)

Ice Cold in Alex 

This is a ripping 1958 WW2 movie of the kind that gets shown on Sunday afternoon tv, starring an alcoholic John Mills,as Captain Anson, often near cracking up under the pressure and nurse Sylvia Sims who had to have several scenes re-shot on censorís orders for having too much unbuttoned in the searing North African desert heat. Itís an ill assorted bunch of army and ambulance personnel retreating from Tobruk to Alexandria, trying to keep ahead of Rommelís divisions. Youíre not quite sure of Anthony Quayleís Captain van der Poel, the supposedly South African officer whom they pick up along the way, so knowledgeable but how trustworthy? Heís only been taken along because he comes with three bottles of gin.

Tension? Itís nail-biting with the ambulance crossing a minefield, van der Poel sinking in quicksand, the suspicion around him and his mysterious package, the temperamental engine, a dune so steep that the only way they can get up it is to hand-crank that engine.

Itís the thought of a cold beer that keeps Mills going and in the bar scene in Alexandria, he  was drinking beer because ginger ale and other substitutes didn't look real enough on film. By the 14th take, he actually was quite drunk. Watch out for Land Rovers, not built until 1948! But yes it was Carlsberg in the original. The dvd can be had for about £5.99.

  ©RKW  from the Winter 2008 edition of O-to-K